Modric (7), Defoe (68), Adebayor (68, 90)
Liverpool had both Charlie Adam and Martin Skrtel sent off as Tottenham romped to an impressive 4-0 win, their first victory at White Hart Lane this season.
Harry Redknapp made ten changes from the side that drew 0-0 with PAOK on Thursday night and they should have been ahead after only 3 minutes, Emmanuel Adebayor, making his home debut alongside Scott Parker, dragging his effort wide after linking up well with Niko Kranjcar.
Danish international Daniel Agger did well to block Jermain Defoe’s effort moments later after a low ball from Gareth Bale but the home side were ahead after 7 minutes following a good passage of play involving Adebayor, Bale and Defoe culminated in Luka Modric burying a stunning 20-yard effort off the underside of the bar.
The Croatian, who was closely courted by Chelsea over the summer, came close to doubling Spurs’ lead 6 minutes later after Pepe Reina got down low to deny him before Adebayor failed to pick up Defoe in the follow-up.
It could have been 1-1 after 18 minutes when Luis Suarez put the ball in the back of the net, only for the goal to be chalked off after the linesman flagged for offside following some good work from the Uruguayan and team-mate Andy Carroll.
Adebayor then saw a curling effort clear the crossbar before Agger limped off after picking up an injury in the build-up to Modric’s opener and the afternoon took a turn for the worst for the Reds when Adam was given his marching for a second bookable offence following a poorly timed tackle on Parker.
Hoping to take full advantage of their numerical advantage, Younes Kaboul’s header fizzed wide after Kranjcar picked out the Frenchman.
However, Redknapp was forced into a half-time change, Kranjcar picking up a knock in the opening 45 minutes and was replaced by the returning Rafael Van der Vaart.
Spurs continued to pepper the Liverpool goal and Defoe came close to making it 2-0 just after the interval, Adebayor’s clever pass setting up the England international, who turned provider on the hour-mark only for the Togolese forwards tame effort, easily smothered by Reina.
Things went from bad to worse moments later as Skrtel’s second booking added further misery to the travelling Liverpool fans.
And the North London side duly put the game to rest after 2 goals in as many minutes compounded a miserable afternoon for Kenny Dalglish’s side.
First, Defoe latched on to a Van der Vaart through ball, shrugged off the pressure from the ensuing Jose Enrique before slamming home his second league goal of the season in the 66th minute and it was 3-0 2 minutes later, Adebayor in the right place at the right time to tuck away Defoe’s rebounded effort.
Carroll came close to adding a consolation at the other end, failing to get on the end of Enrique’s cross before Adebayor added his second, and Spurs fourth, in the dying embers of the match, the on-loan striker having time to control Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s cross before slamming past the oncoming Reina in what turned out to be the last kick of the game.
Redknapp was quick to praise his squad after the match, telling Sky Sports News: “It was a fantastic performance from start to finish.
“We started the game so brightly and created three or four great chances before we scored with a great finish from Luka.
“The only thing that bothered me is that we weren’t two or three up at that time because I think we were that good in that first 25-30 minutes it would have been difficult for anyone to live with us.
“When they had the first sending off, I thought ‘we don’t need that now’. Sometimes against 10 men the attitude can change. People think it is easy, the crowd get restless and the players want to play differently.
“When it was 11 against 11 we were absolutely well on top and it was going how we wanted it. We had a little flat spell before half-time.
“We ended up scoring some good goals and it was a complete all-round performance.”